Scotch tape sticks to all sorts of surfaces, but much of the time, it also leaves a residue behind when you peel the tape away. The sooner you remove that tape residue, the better, as over time, the stickiness attracts dust, lint, and all sorts of debris, making the old tape mark even more obvious. Citrus-based adhesive removers, rubbing alcohol, and even a baking soda paste come in handy for removing residue from many hard surfaces.
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Citrus-Based Adhesive Removers
Citrus-based products designed specifically to remove gooey messes make quick work of removing Scotch tape residue from surfaces such as plastic, finished wood, metal, and glass. Apply a dab of your favorite citrus-based cleanup product, such as Goo Gone, directly atop the tape residue and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot and gently buff the area with a clean lint-free cloth; the buffing action should loosen any residue still clinging to the project piece.
If the adhesive residue still has a little tape stuck in it, scrape the tape up with your fingernail or an item such as a plastic spoon that won't scratch the project surface. Apply more of the citrus product as needed if any residue remains. Although Goo Gone and similar products work on some fabrics and upholstery, avoid using these liquids on surfaces such as rubber, leather, or unfinished wood, as the product may stain. Test the liquid on an inconspicuous area first to be sure.
Vinegar or Alcohol
White vinegar or rubbing alcohol work well for removing gummy tape residue once you've peeled up the actual tape. Both substances are safe enough to use on clothing or even food storage containers. Soak the sticky Scotch tape residue in either liquid for 20 minutes or so if working on a non-porous surface. For fabric or upholstery that can be cleaned with liquids, pour some of your chosen liquid on a white, lint-free cloth and gently rub the spot only along the gooey areas, which helps avoid spreading the adhesive.
Use the edge of a plastic spoon bowl or a plastic gift card to scrape across any fabric-based surface to help loosen any adhesive clinging to the fabric. The same tool also works on hard surfaces. Afterwards, wash plastics or similar washable items in a sink with a little dish soap and water. For surfaces such as appliances or kitchen cabinets, wipe again with your choice of vinegar, alcohol, or damp cloth.
A Safe Scrub
If the item still looks like it had tape stuck to it even after you've cleared the sticky residue, a baking soda scrub helps remove those marks. Add a few drops of water to a little baking soda to make a paste, then rub the paste over the tape marks with a lint-free white cloth. Wipe away the paste with a fresh damp cloth, and much of the residue should be gone as well. If not, buff the area again with more baking soda paste.
If the affected object can withstand more scrubbing, use a nylon kitchen scrub pad along with the baking soda paste. Do not use any scrubbing pads on items that scratch easily.